A Slashdot post considers the value of an astronaut’s life:
…if you’re going to ‘give up four billion dollars to avoid a one in seven chance of killing an astronaut, you’re basically saying an astronaut’s life is worth twenty-eight billion dollars.’ He wrote about the same subject earlier this year for Reason magazine, saying, ‘Keeping astronauts safe merits significant expenditure. But how much? There is a potentially unlimited set of testing procedures, precursor missions, technological improvements, and other protective measures that could be implemented before allowing human beings to once again try flying to other worlds. Were we to adopt all of them, we would wind up with a human spaceflight program of infinite cost and zero accomplishment.
The very first comment:
Market economy to the rescue: As long as the kind of people you need keep queuing up to become astronauts, reduce costs. They are the ones whose asses are on the line, so if they’re OK with it, do it.
This makes sense to me. I wonder how the private space industry will handle this issue. Of course, there will be public relations and politics to consider.